About Me

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Indiana, United States
Updates on our homeschooling family with ten children, a handful of chickens, a couple horses, three bunnies, and six cats. Visit our website at PeacefulHome.net


Blog Archive

Grocery Spending

Food Only

Oct 2010 - $231.39

Nov 2010 - $998.22

Dec 2010 - $340.29

Jan 2011 - $855.15

Feb 2011 - $203.17

Mar 2011 - $916.52

Monthly Average $590.79

Weekly Average $137.85
Our family's website, PeacefulHome.net, is in the process of changing hosting companies and is currently inactive. Our plan is to move this blog over once construction is complete. Please stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 1, 2010

I'll admit I'm a little distracted tonight. We received the sad news on Friday that Bryan's dear, sweet grandma had passed away in California. We covet your prayers! In light of everything, I honestly have no idea at this point what the rest of my week will look like. Regardless, this is the menu that I planned way back in January.

Monday - Baked French Toast, Sausage

Tuesday (Mom's Mtg./Horse Judging) - BBQ Meatball Sandwiches, French Fries

Wednesday (AWANA) - Cold Cut Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday - Sunshine Ham, Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday (Judging Contest) - Bean Burritos

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kumon Workbooks

Since our state homeschool convention is this weekend, one thing that is always on my list is Kumon books. The preschool crowd always gets a couple apiece, but even Meghan (9) has requested their multiplication book. I've devoted a page to these fun books at our website. There's one there for almost any student!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wishing for spring makes me sew!

Everyone I know is DONE with winter. We've had tons of snow, and I just got stuck in the driveway...again! Heading to Florida is not an option, so I started making the girlies some new warm-weather dresses (that they currently insist on wearing with long-sleeves).

I set up my sewing machine at the kitchen island (out of Hunter's reach) and stich a minute here-and-there, all day long. I didn't know I could sew standing up, but I can!

A huge "Thank You" to Grandma Nan's friend, Miss Thelma for all the fun fabric!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

This cheesecake is pretty sinful stuff. That must be why Bryan requests it for his birthday every year, and we'll be enjoying it for Emelie's birthday celebration this weekend. So put on those elastic waist clothes and enjoy a slice!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

1-3/4 cups crushed chocolate chips cookies or chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in up the sides of a greased 9-in. pan. Place pan on a baking sheet; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat just until blended. Pour over crust; set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add water and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over filling, gently pushing dough below surface (dough should be completely covered by filling). Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WFMW - Crafting with Children

I'm not one of those crafty homeschoolers (Jamers, who constructs ziggurats out of sugar cubes, is now clutching her sides and rolling on the floor with that understatement). However, like most children, my children love a good, hands-on project.

When we started our State History unit, we spent a few days with five children jostling for the scissors and the glue stick that just made the paper wrinkle. Then the light bulb went off...I grabbed my paper trimmers and adhesive from my scrapbooking supplies.

The children get through the cutting and gluing part so much faster, and our lessons aren't interrupted by constant exclamations of "I need the scissors!" This allows us to focus on the subject being taught.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Your Printer Need Never Run Dry!

Our printers were always running out of ink, and I would forever be forgetting to put it on our Wal-mart list. It didn't help that I hated spending so much money on ink.

One day in my legendary "search-bonanzas," I came across the Ink Drop program from Staples. You mail them your empty cartridge (in their postage-paid envelopes), they mail you back a new cartridge. No shipping charges!

Their prices on the cartridges are competitive. Turn-around time is a couple weeks, so we try to always keep a filled cartridge on the shelf.

Ink Drop is just a small things that makes my life a little simpler!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Moments

Proving that even a Pegasus needs a break now and then...

Inspired by our love for all things Olympic, the boys developed their own downhill event. They built LEGO bobsleds and raced them from the top bunk. Hitting the "Gate" was a bonus. Semifinal rounds included the placement of items on the sheet for "moguls." Do we need to get out more?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 22, 2010

I must be ready for Spring: I'm looking through patterns and fabric to make the little girls some cute, warm-weather dresses. Seems too far away with all the snow on the ground and more predicted to fall.

The highlights of this week are dear Emelie's 14th birthday on Tuesday and the Indiana Homeschool Convention on Friday/Saturday. It's a relief to be able to rely on our meal plan to keep things running smoothly!

Monday - Waffles, Sausage, Cheesy Grits

Tuesday (Em's Birthday, Horse Judging) - Sausage Braid, Plums (Em's Favorite Meal!)

Wednesday (4-H Council, AWANA) - Cold Cut Sandwiches, Chips

Thursday - Sliced Ham, Cole Slaw, Wheat Rolls, Peaches

Friday (Convention) - Franks 'n Beans

Saturday (Convention) - Frozen Pizza, Mac & Cheese

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recipe - Cinnamon Cream Syrup

Since we have breakfast for dinner about once per week, I'm always looking for ways to make it more special. This syrup is so good, you'll consider suspending the rule about licking plates. It makes ordinary pancakes taste like cinnamon rolls!

Cinnamon Cream Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk (or 5 oz. water and 1/3C dry milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Meanwhile, for syrup, combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Serve with waffles or pancakes. Yield: 1-2/3 cups syrup.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WFMW - Olympic Lapbook

As a certified Olympic Junkie, I'm proud that my children are following in my footsteps. Ted has decided to do a jumbo-sized lapbook on the Vancouver Games, in the form of a tri-fold board, for his 4-H Self-Determined Project.

We found a colorful, not to mention super-cheap, Olympic lapbook kit at CurrClick. Only $3.75! What a fun way to learn about the history of the Games as well as keep up with current events!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Need an extra set of hands?

This tip falls soundly within the category of "Why didn't I think of this before?" Getting ready to go anywhere can get a little chaotic around here. Twenty shoes, ten coats, various bags or belongings - and usually Hunter (15 months) is fussing and underfoot.

When it's Hunter's turn for shoes and coat, it's a bit like trying to put shoes on an octopus as he wiggles around my lap. A couple weeks ago, divine inspiration had me plop him in the nearby high chair to keep him from being used as a soccer ball in all the shuffle.

Voila! He sat still as I put on his shoes and coat (which was much easier since I was facing him). Giving him a book to look at, he sat quietly until it was time to take him to the van.

It's these little things that can make such a difference in the ease of getting out the door!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Emelie's Senate Paging Day

A month or so ago, Jamers asked if Emelie would accompany her best buddy, Doodle, as a Page-for-the-Day for Indiana State Senator Patricia Miller (Doodle's Grandma). How could I say no to that?

The girls had a wonderful time! Senator Miller arranged photos with Lieutenant Governor Beck Skillman, and Governor Mitch Daniels. They were also introduced on the floor of the Senate. What incredible memories were made that day! Thanks for thinking of her, Jamers and Doodle!

Being Introduced on the Senate Floor by Senator Miller

With Lt. Governor Becky Skillman

With Governor Mitch Daniels (who was very complementary of homeschool students!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 15, 2010

We love watching the Olympics! This is only time our TV is on for hours every night. We become couch potatoes (more accurately - bed potatoes since our only TV is in the master bedroom). We justify it since we're all together rooting for our favorites. I must confess that I am often blubbering during those profiles of the athletes or when an underdog prevails.

Unfortunately, we will have to pull ourselves away a couple nights this week with our regular activites. For dinner this week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Hashbrown Casserole, Peach Cobbler

Tuesday (Homeschool Classes, Horse Judging, 4-H Aerospace) - Taco Salad, Chips

Wednesday (Field Trip, AWANA) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday -
Grilled Chicken Salad, Fresh Bread

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread

Find more menus at
orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recipes - Wrap it Up!

I have long been convinced that my children will eat almost anything if you wrap it up in a warm, fresh tortilla! Below are a couple of our favorite wrap meals that everyone gets excited to see!

Turkey Ranch Wraps
8 thin slices cooked turkey
4 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup prepared ranch salad dressing

Place two slices of turkey on each tortilla. Layer with tomato, green pepper, lettuce and cheese. Drizzle with salad dressing. Roll up tightly. Yield: 4 servings.

Greek Ham Wraps
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
6 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
6 lettuce leaves
3 cups julienned fully cooked ham (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 can (4-1/2 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
6 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and basil; spread over each tortilla. Top with lettuce, ham, olives, feta cheese and chopped onions; roll up. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Making State History Fun

We're taking a break from our beloved Sonlight this semester to focus on state history. I am so impressed with State History from a Christian Perspective! The children beg to work on their notebooks everyday (because mean mom has scheduled it for only twice per week).

We are using it for K-8th grade. Everyone works the same topic in varying depth. Just last night I learned that there is a lapbook to go along with the study. We might have to work that in too!

Along with working through State History from a Christian Perspective, we're reading biographies about famous Hoosiers, and Emelie and Ted are reading historical fiction set in Indiana. We're trying to spend one weekend a month visiting a site of historical significance.

All together we're developing a passion for the state we live in!

Monday, February 8, 2010

How to look like a "Domestic Diva"

I love the look of vintage aprons. I'm not alone since there are books, blogs, and adorable patterns out there devoted to the apron. I have the patterns that my mom used to sew aprons for my great-grandmother in the '60s but have never gotten around to making one for myself.

That is why I love the "Domestic Diva" apron kits. They are available at your local Joann Fabrics hidden back in the quilting section. If you use one of those 40% off coupons, they end up being much cheaper than if you'd started from scratch with a pattern and fabric. Plus they go together in about an hour.

I've made three so far and enjoy them all. It almost inspires me to vacuum in high-heels and pearls. Almost.

Here's Meggie modeling our latest "Diva" apron. Please ignore the fact that the baby is sitting on the table doing heavens-knows-what!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 8, 2010

It's a blue Sunday here - Colts Blue. Sadly, our favorite team couldn't make it happen tonight. I think I'm getting to old for these games 'cause they really stress me out! Tomorrow, we'll reenter the real world to another busy week. In addition to our regular activities, Emelie will be paging in our State Senate with her best buddy, Doodle.

To get dinner on the table each evening, I'll be relying on my crockpot and meats that I've already cooked. We will be having:

Monday - Blueberry Pancakes, Omelets

Tuesday (Homeschool Classes, Horse Judging, 4-H Aerospace) - Chili Day Meatballs crockpot, Rice

Wednesday (AWANA) - Frozen Pizza, Mac & Cheese

Thursday (Em Paging, 4-H Rabbit & Horse) - Greek Ham Wraps, Tortillas, Fruit

Friday (Roller Skating) - Hearty German Potato Salad, Rolls

Saturday - Mexican Chicken, Spanish/White Rice, Broccoli

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Have you heard about Swagbucks?

I first heard about Swagbucks at a couple of my favorite blogs. I'm usually pretty slow to jump on any bandwagon, but after hearing that they had paid for their Christmas presents via Amazon using Swagbucks, I had to check it out.

After signing-up, you just the Swagbucks search engine to do all your normal searching. I will also use their search engine to search for things like my own blog and those of my friends. Every once in awhile, while searching, a Swagbuck or two or five will be awarded. These can be redeemed for prizes or Amazon gift cards. (Note: The best deal is currently the $5 denomination.)

It becomes almost a game. The children get very excited when they win a Swagbuck and eagerly watch the toolbar to see how the total grows. I invited Bryan and my mom to sign-up, and as they earn Swagbucks, my total number increases.

Check out Swagbucks and start earning giftcards or other fun prizes!

Search & Win

Friday, February 5, 2010

I love sewing for little girls!

Last week, Heidi and I were going through a bag of patterns that someone had blessed us with. There was one that particularly caught her eye. I dug through my bag of fleece scraps and made these outfits for her and Brigitta. Now they can be warm, toasty, and cute!

This next one's for you, Mom. Check out the binding I used in Heidi's top. Think vintage placemats!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recipe - Cheesy Sausage Penne

We just enjoyed this dish tonight. It was wicked yummy! My children aren't big on lasagna, but they enjoyed this. Some even said it tasted like Sausage Braid made with pasta. High praise indeed!

Cheesy Sausage Penne

12 Servings
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min.

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and onions.

In a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half of the cream cheese mixture; sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Stumpf Notes: I didn't have any green onions, so those were omitted. Probably won't include them in the future since they would set off alarms in the children! I probably used about half of the spaghetti sauce called for since they aren't all big fans of a lot of tomato sauce. This filled a 13 x 9 to the top. It served us for dinner with lunch leftovers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Use for Leftovers

Around here we rarely have much food left over after meals. I purposely cook large enough portions for dinner to enjoy for lunch the next day. Only occasionally we will have a serving or two left after that. Since it takes so many "single servings" to make up another meal, I've gotten into the habit of freezing them for my mom to take home with her after her visits. It saves her time and effort, and helps me to keep from wasting food.

As I was packaging up some of our chicken soup for Mom, I got to thinking that this could become a ministry for others. Perhaps you know of an elderly person or couple, college student, or struggling single that would be blessed by some of your good home-cookin'?

Those 1 or 2 cup disposable Ziploc containers work great. So would a freezer bag in some instances. Just remember to label the contents and allow for the frozen food to expand (visualize tomato soup running out into the freezer and then freezing into red concrete!).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Indiana History Field Trip #1

On Saturday we braved the cold to visit the home of James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier Poet, in downtown Indianapolis. We've been reading his poetry during Circle Time as well as a biography of his childhood. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed seeing this incredible historic preservation!

Behind us is a bust of James Whitcomb Riley that stands at his height.